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Murray Comments on Trade Deadline Acquisitions

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

Ducks Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Murray held a conference call Monday afternoon to discuss the new acquisitions, the outlook of the team and more.

On how the trades developed

Any time on this day, there are so many moving parts. It starts well before now. You talk to teams and there are ideas. You think you’ve got something going and you don’t. These are deals where you’d like one part to fall before the next one goes so you have everything in place. Fortunately for us, it sort of went smoothly around 10:30 on.

On addressing the defense
The one comment I’d like to make, and I feel like I have to do this, is the way Ben Lovejoy found out he was traded is wrong…to go off the ice and see it all on Twitter. He knew before the call was even done. That’s wrong in our business today. It’s amazing to me. We’ve done deals in the last week with Montreal, Florida and Columbus today ahead of that deal, and no one ever knew a thing. That’s the way it’s supposed to happen. A player is supposed to find out he’s traded through the general manager because I owe it to the player to make that phone call. I wasn’t afforded that today. I’m very [upset] that Ben had to find out the way he did. He was a good soldier for us, and that wasn’t fair.

With Wiz [James Wisniewski], he’s been here before. Our power play has struggled mightily for two years now. Wiz is not afraid to shoot the puck, and that’s a good thing. He’s a good power-play guy. He competes hard. If you recall back in 2008-09, we played a series against Detroit. He got hit, put in the hospital for the night, and then played the next day. He’s a competitive, competitive guy. Columbus had two or three of those guys out there, and they wanted to move a defenseman. We just waited to see how prices could come down a bit from where they started. We paid a good price. We gave up assets to get Wiz. There’s no doubt about that, but we felt that was a move that had to be made.

The opportunity was there to pick up a big kid in [Simon] Despres, and we had to give up Ben to do that. Despres is a big, strong, young hockey player. He’s a solid player who’s only going to get better at his age. We were really excited that he became available.

With [Korbinian] Holzer, that was late in the day and another one just to make sure our depth was good enough. He’s a right-hand shot. He broke his nose the other night, so he’s a little banged up right now, as is Wiz. We’ve liked Holzer for a while. We’ve fussed around with Toronto about that at different times, so it was a chance to complete that with a right-hand shot.

On if these moves make the club better equipped against Western Conference opponents
As the season unfolded, certain patterns developed of us struggling against certain teams. We started a while back. We’ve got to address the different styles of teams. There are different styles within our conference. That’s becoming especially apparent out East, but you don’t worry about that until later. It was very apparent to us that we had to change a few things and be capable of playing different types of games against different teams. We addressed, in the last week and a half, a few of those situations. Hopefully we’re capable now of competing against most of the teams in our conference.

On trade-market prices

Every year it goes up and up and up. I remember when it was just used to be a single asset for a player, and that would be a third- or fourth-round pick and stuff. Now we’re into first- and second-round picks and a prospect on top of that. Every time you called on somebody, it was always a first and a prospect. It’s a trend that I’m not very comfortable with. You kind of wait it out if you can.

On his theory as to why the prices have gone up
I guess as long as teams will pay it, teams will ask for it. I mean, guys were apologizing for asking for things, but they said everyone else was asking, so we’ve got to ask. That’s kind of how it went. Some of the things I was asked for over the last week and a half were just ... I just wasn’t going to do it. That’s all.

On if there is concern with altering chemistry
You always are. We’ve talked about that. But again, I felt with this team, it was more important to address the ability to play different games against different teams. I really felt that it was becoming a problem throughout the season. Hopefully with that many players leaving or coming that it doesn’t affect the team negatively. I know they have to get together quickly. Wiz has been here before, so that’s a plus.

On the type(s) of teams that give the Ducks problems

Quick and skilled. You go along and you build to compete and beat certain teams, and LA is a prime candidate. Things change, and it’s cyclical. Different teams evolve. I didn’t feel we had enough skill and speed to compete against them all. Hopefully now we have enough of each different parts of our game that we can play different games if required to play different styles.

On Wisniewski’s injury

He’s got a bruise on his foot. They were going to say a week to two weeks. Wiz told me just a little while ago that he won’t be that long. He said it feels a lot better today. As you recall, he’s a pretty quick healer, so I don’t expect it to be that long. He wants to play. He’s a competitor.

On if Matt Beleskey was in play
Those are the ones you struggle with. We’ve got a couple unrestricted guys, and you’re torn. I felt that with this hockey team, right now, it was more important to keep Matt and take our chances in the future. We’ll see what happens in the summer with him. He’s been an important part of our team. That’s just the way things are nowadays. We got asked about him, but I wasn’t going to do it. This team has earned the right for me to leave it alone and try to fix it any way I can, and not take anybody away from the team. One guy left, and we added some other defensemen.

On reflecting on his trades
You sit with your staff and ask, How can we compete against different teams in the West, and how best can we do it? What do we need to do to compete against this team or that team? You try to make yourself as versatile as possible. That’s all we were trying to accomplish here. How do we have to get better? Bottom line: The Anaheim Ducks are better right now than we were five, six or seven days ago.

On Despres’ upside
He’s not well-known around here. He’s a big, strong kid that moves the puck. He plays a big, physical game. He closes gaps really well. He’s a big-bodied guy, which is something we needed. The big thing with him is that he’s young, and to keep playing within himself. He has a chance to become a very solid top-four defenseman in the future.

On if Despres was on his radar

There are always guys who, especially for me, as a guy who likes to get out and look at the draft picks, there are always guys you liked. You keep watching them. You ask about them over time.

This is somebody we had asked about on a few occasions whenever we talked to Pittsburgh. It goes back to [former Penguins General Manager] Ray Shero and now to Jimmy [Executive Vice President and General Manager Jim Rutherford]. It was Jimmy who came to me with this one. This is one of those guys that I’ve watched and liked, and wanted to get my hands on.

On the challenge of getting younger and better at the same time
As a GM, you’re always cognizant of the future, and you’re looking at today. And you’re thinking, How can I make our hockey club better today, but keep my eye on the future? We got a little lucky today. I’m going to be honest. We’ll take it. That’s how we operate here. We accumulated bullets and assets over the last bunch of years, and now, since the last draft, we’ve spent on this hockey team. We’ve tried to give this team every chance to be successful. We’ve given a bunch here, too. It’s my job to look at both ends of it, now and the future.

On if there was any team that strengthened itself
The [Keith] Yandle deal was a good deal, so I think the New York Rangers got better, for sure. That was one you had your eye on. I don’t think [Coyotes Executive Vice President, General Manager & Alternate Governor] Don Maloney was going to trade him in the West. I thought [Red Wings Executive Vice President & General Manager] Ken Holland waited it out very well and did very good in Detroit.

On the current roster compared to the roster last May

I wasn’t happy with that team at the end of the year. I didn’t think we were as close in the seven-game series with LA as everyone else thought. I thought we were lucky against Dallas. We wanted to make ourselves more versatile, and I think we’ve done that. We have a little more speed and a little more skill, but we’re still our rugged self. I was trying to make us more versatile. I thought we were too one-dimensional before. I thought we addressed that situation.

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